As a counsellor, Shamini, 32, is intimately helpful, easy to talk to and knowledgeable about local LGBTQ+ community issues. She also describes herself as bubbly and compassionate.
Her previous professional experience includes working in a mainstream secondary school, which has taught her that everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, share a common need for acceptance by those around them.
"The LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and acceptance issues among peers, family or within themselves, marginalisation and some even battle with internalised feelings such as self-blame. There's a lot going on for them and substance abuse/addiction could be one way for them to cope with their pain or to help them feel alive. On that note, I think everyone is susceptible to substance abuse and addiction not only the LGBTQ+ community.”
In her personal life, she too has faced internal struggles to gain other’s acceptance of herself, her decisions and the way she chooses to lead her life.
"The pressure I placed on myself to live up to these standards I set based on my perception of what was expected of me prevented me from making the simplest of decisions and to also constantly question whatever decision I eventually made.”
Faced with this, she began a journey of self-improvement.
"I learnt from my mistakes and that made me a better person. I got to the point where I decided I could categorise things that happen in my life in two segments: 1) blessings and 2) lessons.
You are either happy with it or you learn from it. End of the day, it’s a beneficial gain and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Complete this sentence: "Our Story is..."
"Our Story is worth sharing. :)”